Ike Perlmutter: Disney fired me after criticism of Marvel movie
The Donald Trump supporter and former head of Marvel Entertainment says he lost out to Disney after years of guessing the budget of a Marvel movie.
Late last month, Ike Perlmutter, the head of Marvel Entertainment, notorious for supporting President Donald Trump, was let go by the Walt Disney Company. At that time a official word It was that Perlmutter, who gained control of the Marvel Comics business in the late 1990s and sold it to Disney for $4 billion in 2009, was fired as part of larger cuts at Disney to cut costs and streamline the business.
But Perlmutter, 80, says the narrative is “convenient” and instead claims Disney fired him outright. The Wall Street Journal Posted on Thursday.
A Disney spokesperson told the Journal that Horacio Gutierrez, Disney’s general counsel, called Perlmutter in late March to tell him he was being cut as part of general layoffs at the company; Perlmutter says he “didn’t recall” Gutierrez sharing the reasoning behind his firing.
Disney representatives did not immediately respond to IndieWire’s request that the company formally memorialize the termination.
“It was just a convenient excuse to get rid of a longtime executive who was going against the grain of the company’s business,” Perlmutter, the multibillionaire, told the Journal. “There is no doubt in my mind that my resignation was driven by fundamental business differences between my thinking and Disney management’s interest in return on investment.”
Perlmutter says his resignation stemmed from longstanding disagreements with other Disney executives over the business strategy for Marvel Studios’ superhero movies. Specifically, Perlmutter felt that the films were “too long” and too expensive to produce, and that the company was prioritizing ticket sales over the actual bottom line of the franchise—the Marvel films had grossed more than $23 billion worldwide with the most recent film, Since “Ant”. – The man and the wasp: quantum mania.
“They only talk about the box office, the box office. I’m interested in the bottom line. I don’t care how big the box office is. Only Hollywood people talk about the box office,” Perlmutter told the WSJ. “You couldn’t force the issue because the creative people at the Walt Disney Company are very powerful.”
Perlmutter said he shared his concerns about superhero movie budgets and their lack of profitability with Bob Chapek during the latter’s two-year tenure as CEO. According to Perlmutter, Chapek shared his views at the time, but had no opportunity to change his spending plans once they were approved by senior management. Perlmutter claims to have received profit and loss statements for Marvel Studios films until 2021, when his access was blocked.
In the Journal interview, Perlmutter also named Nelson Peltz — the activist investor and Disney shareholder who made headlines last January for his proxy fight to join the company’s board — as one of the company’s allies. Perlmutter didn’t officially join the battle, which Peltz ended in February, but she called Disney directors and helped lobby to get her friend on the board.
Another source of tension between Perlmutter and Disney management is the ongoing legal battle between Florida lawmakers and Disney over both the state’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill and Disney World’s tax status. Perlmutter said he repeatedly advised Disney executives not to get involved in politics, calling it a “no-win situation.”
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
In 2015, Disney reorganized management so that studio president Kevin Feige reports directly to the president of Walt Disney Studios and not to Perlmutter. In 2019, Perlmutter further lost power when Feige was promoted to CCO of Marvel Studios, giving him control over Marvel TV and media, which Perlmutter had previously overseen.
Perlmutter had been steadily losing power at the company for years; Trump’s open support didn’t help. Perlmutter was one of a few on an informal council that advised the former president on Department of Veterans Affairs policy.
In 2017, it was reported that Perlmutter was behind the lack of merchandise for the “Avengers” character Black Widow, believing that consumer products for female superheroes were not selling well. The opinion and the decision caused great outrage.
Although Perlmutter doesn’t have a job at Disney now, his relationship with the company isn’t over; With about 30 million shares, Perlmutter is one of the largest individual Disney shareholders, contributing to his reported net worth of about $4 billion — or one Marvel Comics in 2009.
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